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JD graduates sworn in as newest members of California bar

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

By Leslie Ridgeway

More than 70 USC Gould School of Law graduates celebrated an important high point in their early legal careers when they were officially sworn in as admitted members of the California bar in December.

From left: SBA President Jalen Russell, Judge Kimberley Baker Guillemet, Judge Autumn D. Spaeth and Dean Guzman

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The ceremony, which took place at USC’s Town & Gown, was hosted by Dean Andrew Guzman, with Student Bar Association President Jalen Russell serving as bailiff. Administering the state and federal attorney’s oaths were the Hon. Kimberley Baker Guillemet (JD 2005) and the Hon. Autumn D. Spaeth (JD 2000). 
Noting that the ceremony was taking place shortly before the Gould School celebrates its 120th anniversary in 2020, Dean Guzman praised family and friends for their support, and the graduates for the hard work that led up to their important accomplishment.
“Passing the bar is no small feat,” he said. “You should be enormously proud of what you just achieved.  Each of you has not only proven that you possess a thorough knowledge and understanding of the law, but also the self-discipline and motivation to become attorneys.”
USC Gould consistently ranks among the highest bar passage rates statewide. This year, the law school recorded an 86% pass rate, more than 20 points above the statewide average.  
‘To whom much is given, much is required’
The Hon. Kimberley Baker Guillemet (JD 2005)

Judge Guillemet and Judge Spaeth each offered three points of advice for the graduates before the swearing-in. Judge Guillemet urged the graduates to be proud of themselves, stay humble, and appreciate the responsibility they have to use their intelligence and ambition to do good works.
“To whom much is given, much is required,” said Judge Guillemet, Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. “In your position as attorneys, you will have access to rooms, people and conversations that the vast majority of people will not ever have. Use your access, opportunity and position wisely. Use them justly, with grace, dignity, respect and mercy.”
Judge Guillemet noted the power of the newly minted attorneys to change lives.
“While ambition is something that can carry us a long way, at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, we have to be able to sit quietly with ourselves and be at peace and know that we’ve done our best professionally, personally and ethically,” she said.

The Hon. Autumn D. Spaeth (JD 2000)
Judge Spaeth, U.S. Magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, encouraged the graduates to understand for themselves what “success” means, build a reputation with the Bar and the courts, and understand the value of relationships.
“Your definition (of success) will change throughout your career,” Judge Spaeth said. “What matters here is that you understand that there is more than one way to be successful in this profession. There are many areas of law, many types of law firms, many types of clients and many types of work. What matters is (that) you find one that fits with your skills and your abilities and your personality.”
Judge Spaeth noted the Gould School’s success in teaching the importance of relationships and how relationship building can make a career more rewarding. 
“Work with people you like and respect,” she said. “Your work will improve, and your day to day will be far more enjoyable.”
In closing, Dean Guzman urged the graduates to stay involved with the Gould School through alumni events, mentorship, externships and career programs. 
“Your engagement will inspire future classes.” he said. 



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